Neos Kosmos celebrates it’s 66th anniversary today and remains the most significant voice of, and for, Australian Hellenism.

The first article I wrote for Neos Kosmos was in 1987, for the paper’s 30th anniversary edition.

I even edited a special tribute together with Babis Stavropoulos and Spyros Metallinos.

That tribute was signed off by the director Dimitris Gogos, the editor-in-chief Nontas Pezaros, and Christos Mourikis – the three partners.

Not one of them, then could have imagined that their newspaper would stand the test of time.

Greek immigrants mainly from the Greek Left supported Neos Kosmos in those difficult early years. And all three along with those early readers, laid solid foundations. We owe them gratitude.

During the 2004 Olympic Games. Photo: Neos Kosmos

I too could not imagine that I would still be here on Neos Kosmos’ 66th anniversary. My aim was to return to Greece permanently, which I tried, but with no success, like so many others.

Neos Kosmos has changed. It’s not the newspaper it used to be, as some of our critics say.

It has changed because times have changed.

If we didn’t adapt to new conditions, we probably wouldn’t exist now.

Over the 66 years at least ten other Greek community newspapers were published. Some lasted decades but most no longer exist.

Times are not great for legacy media, like newspapers. Globally we have seen over the last 15 years a significant decrease in print circulation. Especially in Greece.

The Weekend edition cover on the Greek Crisis. Photo: Neos Kosmos

The situation could have been the same for Neos Kosmos if it continued to engage only with an aging and declining Greek Australian post-war population.

Despite the many challenges such as digital information, Neos Kosmos remains successful for two reasons:

–     We listened and adapted to new conditions, while we remain faithful to the values we inherited from our founders: Objectivity, responsibility, and respect for readers

–     We continue to listen to our readership and try, despite our limited resources, to record and highlight the issues that concern them.

Gathering over 20,000 signatures to demand the entry of Greek Language in mainstream education curriculum. Photo: Neos Kosmos

Our readers are our key strength. They are our allies, not political parties, not institutions and not business.

Neos Kosmos was first published on February 13, 1957, which happened to coincide with Dimitris Gogos’ birthday.

Sadly, Dimitri Gogos and many of our readers, who supported the paper in the early difficult years, including many Greek Australian business pioneers – are no longer with us.

They should, however, feel proud that Neos Kosmos, first published in the tough years of post-war mass immigration, doesn’t just exist, but has grown and remains the vital media voice of Hellenism in Australia.

During the ‘Macedonia’ rallied in Melbourne on 28 February 1994 featuring a.. typo! Photo: Neos Kosmos

And we have expanded to three printed editions (Saturday’s bilingual in Greek and English) and have a much larger and ever-growing digital presence.

Hundreds of thousands of readers in Australia, many second, and even third generation Greek Australians, trust Neos Kosmos for quality, depth, and balance in both Greek and in English. It is in Neos Kosmos where audiences also see other Greek Australians across all fields doing well, be it in business, science, the arts, or politics.

We publish seven days a week and on-line, 24 hours a day. Reports, features, analyses, and interviews are all underscored with the focus of Australian Hellenic Diaspora and on Hellenism generally.

Neos Kosmos, is without doubt, the largest Greek Diaspora newspaper today, even to the envy of many Athenian newspapers.

In 1997 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the publication of the newspaper with an impressive edition of 120 (large) pages which is also a record for Neos Kosmos.

PASOK comes to power on 19 October 1981. Photo: Supplied

By the mid 2000s, ownership and direction of the newspaper was passed on to Christopher Gogos. Under his leadership we embraced digitization. We took a deep dive into digital to engage younger readers born in Australia in English.

In 2007 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the paper, with four magazines, thanks to Christopher Gogos. The magazines made history and are still requested by readers today.

Then we celebrated the 60th anniversary with more impressive special contributions and reports.

Neos Kosmos has a special relationship with its audiences forged over a lifetime and intergenerationally.

Those relationships developed and grew along with the challenges and dreams of migrants who found themselves thousands of kilometres away from Greece, in search for a better fortune. And those relationships continue today through their children and grandchildren.

Neos Kosmos, now a bi-lingual tri-weekly newspaper and 24/7 website has many reasons to be proud.

Reporting on the 21 April 1967 military coup in Greece. Photo: Neos Kosmos

Since 1957, when the first issue of Neos Kosmos was published until today, much has changed, both in the appearance of the newspaper and its content. Most significant is our shift to provide quality reports, features, and analysis in English. However, the core values of the paper never changed.

Neos Kosmos from its inception until now, has not limited itself to its journalistic role, and perhaps this explains the intimate relationship with its audience. In the 1960s, we organized sit-ins for unemployed Greek immigrants.

We spearheaded the struggles on a national level. The philhellenic positions of all Australian governments are no coincidence.

Between 1967 and 1974, Neos Kosmos took on a strong anti-dictatorship stance. We advocated and activated. We contributed to the rise of the first post-war socialist prime minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou by assisting his tour of Australia to garner support against the Colonel’s dictatorship. We assisted protest composer, Mikis Theodorakis’ tour in Australia when he was still living in exile from Greece.

Later, Neos Kosmos pioneered the creation of a Chair of Modern Greeks at the University of Melbourne. We played a significant role in advocating for the policy of multiculturalism.

The Weekend edition cover regarding Covid-19 on 21 March 2020. Photo: Neos Kosmos

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam led Labor into power in 1972 and adopted many of the Neos Kosmos proposals in the establishment of multiculturalism.

These policies were strengthened by the Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser.

Reforms like the lifting of the ban on citizenship for immigrants who were politically active, the transfer of pensions overseas, the creation of SBS, the funding of language schools, were just some of Neos Kosmos’ successful campaigns. It is no coincidence that the first license of radio station 3EA (the beginning of SBS) was issued in the name of Dimitris Gogos.

Our advocacy for immigrants and multiculturalism continues.

After the years of mass post-war immigration, however, other needs arose. We took the lead in the creation of Greek welfare organisation, Pronoia and later aged-care Fronditha. The first fundraisers were held in our Neos Kosmos offices.

We continue to support efforts to preserve our language and multiculturalism. Even the fact that Greek was included in national curriculum is due to the thousands of readers’ signatures collected by Neos Kosmos. Neos Kosmos participated in the creation of the Greek Week and, later, the Antipodes Festival.

The Greek Community fundraiser cover for the Ilia fires in Greece in 2007. Photo: Neos Kosmos

Circumstances have since changed, not our core philosophy. Today the newspaper still supports social justice. We fight for the rights of the elderly, the young, the marginalized – and not just Greeks. We do that while still promoting the success of Greek Australians across many fields.

Together with young people, however, we fight for the survival of our language, and the preservation of our cultural traditions.

We always support Greece and Cyprus.

In closing, a warm thank you, from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supports us.

And a request: When we say we are “your voice”, it’s not a figure of speech.

We believe it.

That is why we invite you to contact us, to inform us, to criticize us, to question us. Be near us. We hear you and together our “voice” becomes louder!